Recognizing that there are many ways to learn and that children can use different intelligences to comprehend a skill or concept, the JumpStart Advanced series provides a personalized learning environment that suits how each child learns best. In addition, the JumpStart Advanced series offers greater play value with an enhanced motivational game-reward structure that empowers kids to create and express their creativity, along with fun activities that encourage active learning to reinforce skills beyond the computer, and advanced curricula to better prepare kids for the next grade. A valuable new feature in this series is more sensitive skill leveling that automatically adjusts gameplay and educational content to each child's increasing abilities.
In JumpStart Advanced 2nd Grade, players travel with CJ and Edison on top-secret missions to solve the mystery behind the strange pranks taking place in JumpStartville. In each of the seven assignments, players must uncover multiple gadget pieces to activate Hopsalot's zany secret-agent invention and undo Dr. O's weird tricks. As kids develop important second grade skills in exciting curriculum-based games, they can build a hose to wash off the mustaches painted on Mt. JumpMore, assemble a worm vacuum to clean up the JumpStart Schoolhouse, and save CJ's island from sinking by developing a flotation device.
JumpStart Advanced 2nd Grade drills a wide array of skills, largely in mathematics and language arts. Mathematics skills reviewed include addition with and without carrying, subtraction with and without borrowing, money, time, pre-algebra, estimation, rounding, odd and even numbers, and ordinals. Language arts skills drilled include compound words, contractions, antonyms, synonyms, homophones, past and present verbs, plural and singular pronouns, reading comprehension, and alphabetical order. The creators of this program didn’t leave much out; they even threw in a couple of token art and science challenges to cover all their bases (using visual discrimination skills to clean the basement of the Louvre, recognizing pitch and duration of notes in the New Orleans Flea Circus, and determining the order of life cycles to save the Antarctic penguins). Although these skills are pertinent to second grade curricula, it seems that many of the drills aren’t terribly effective. In the Amazon River Hop, for example, a player might be asked to choose the correct contraction for “she is”. Of the four choices, only one is a contraction; the other options are all compound words. It’s simply a matter of finding the word that’s not like the others. The math drills pose a greater challenge to players. The program does offer bits of historical and geographical information along the way. Users can choose to click on certain objects, like a Mayan temple in South America or a lioness in Tanzania, to learn more about them. Players can also listen to useful phrases in different languages during their quests. In another effort to do it all, JumpStart Advanced 2nd Grade offers tips to players from its All-Stars, each one representing a different learning style (The Wordsmith, The Artist, The Athlete, The Musician, The Math Whiz, The People Person, The Explorer). When signing on, players answer a series of questions about their likes, dislikes and abilities; the All-Stars Match-Up Quiz then recommends an All-Star with the same dominant learning style as the child. By clicking on the gold star icon in the lower right corner of the screen, a player can access the All-Star walkie-talkie for helpful hints. While not always pertinent to the task at hand, the tips are valuable. Tips offered for the reading comprehension challenge in the Serengeti include: reading the first sentence to learn what the paragraph will be about (The Wordsmith), using headings and subheadings (The Explorer), acting out the passage (The Athlete). Before or after the quest, a child can access an assessment to test her/his skills. This would be valuable to a teacher as a beginning of the year assessment as it briefly covers most of the mathematics and language arts concepts mentioned above.